Interesting op-ed from the weekend by Barbara Radnofsky.
Now, in many urban high schools and particularly in Houston, policy debate is gone. Private and suburban public high schools are still actively involved in debate, but predominantly low-income minority students lack the opportunity.
Houston needs an Urban Debate League to bring competitive debate back to the inner city, and to involve minority and low income students. By public-private participation, we can also aid both sides in the HISD bond controversy and litigation.
Urban Debate League (UDL) structures partnerships between the urban public school district and a private partner, a local not-for-profit organization (the UDL Advisory Board) composed of civic-minded leaders in business, law, academia, government and the nonprofit community.
Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City and Baltimore all have successful Urban Debate Leagues. Now, Dallas has stepped forward.
The programs succeed. Here’s the evidence from the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues: UDLs increase literacy scores by 25 percent, improve grade-point averages by 8 percent to 10 percent, achieve high school graduation rates of nearly 100 percent and produce college matriculation rates of 71 percent to 91 percent.
We are University of Houston debater alumni seeking resurrection of urban policy debate programs in Houston.
We’ve pledged our service in Houston’s UDL Advisory Board if the NAUDL will sanction a League. We call on Houstonians to contact NAUDL (312-427-0175, info@UrbanDebate.org and www.naudl.org) to join us.
Also noted here; the idea got some good feedback in today’s letters to the editor. This is more call-to-arms than ten-point-plan, so it’s not clear how this would be done, but that’s not important right now. For right now, this strikes me as a fine idea, one on which I hope there will be some follow through. I hope something will come of it.